Blog: Olly WehringCoke or Pepsi - which drink makes you 'happiest'?

Olly Wehring | 16 November 2006

Pepsi consumers are happier when they take a drink of their favourite beverage than Coke consumers. At least those are the findings of The University of Michigan’s annual consumer satisfaction index, which claimed that people liked Pepsi better than they did last year, but customers’ taste for Coke went a little flat.

According to the survey, satisfaction fell two points among Coke drinkers over the last year to 82 points on a 100-point scale, while Pepsi and Cadbury Schweppes shared the highest index rating with 86.

Now, typically, I suspect, for a journalist, I have a huge distrust and dislike for marketing-speak, and sit smugly and cynically through any presentation that veers close to explaining to me the deep emotional bond between a drink and the person drinking it.

So you’ll have to forgive me for wondering what on earth this survey is all about? Are Pepsi consumers really happier people than Coke drinkers? And if so, how the hell did some market researcher with a clipboard ascertain this? All this is made even more baffling by the fact that these drinks don’t actually change in flavour year to year.

The explanation given for the apparent victory for Pepsi by Professor Claes Fornell, the researcher in charge of the study, did make sense - a little annoyingly. He said that anecdotal evidence gathered by his researchers suggested an increase in spending on marketing and product innovation, and a lesser reliance on price promotions, might have helped Pepsi bump up its satisfaction rating. He said that, when consumers have more choice, they are more likely to be happy. This tallies with what we have seen from the two giants over the last couple of years.

But you can’t help but sympathise with the Coke spokesman yesterday when he told just-drinks: “People in the US vote for their favourite soft drinks when they buy them every day, and we lead in the top three categories with Coke, Diet Coke and Fanta.”


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